Possessive partners, physical violence, abuse. Subdue the other, force them to stay with you. It may well be a movie, a drama, but it could well be a true story, alongside those expressions of gender violence that represent full-blown threats: “You’re mine. Until death do us part.” The fear of losing your partner -and that another may enjoy their company- is the basis of ‘The Paramedic’, directed by Carles Torras, released on Netflix and starring a lunatic Mario Casas.
Accustomed to seeing Casas in the role of the handsome young man, sweet-talking the most beautiful girl at the party, the actor catches us off guard in this role as a neurotic. Especially after his recent appearance in ‘The Occupant’, where he plays an exemplary family man. Not to mention that we can enjoy him in the role of the humble guy in cinemas in ‘Cross The Line’, a thriller that’ll have you on the edge of your seat in suspense following the terrible misfortunes that plague the protagonist, much to his regret, during the course of one night. Two registers in which we can already see the evolution of Casas as an actor, but which are both a far cry from the character he plays with cool precision in ‘The Paramedic’.
This time around, Casas goes even further and walks in the shoes of a man embittered with life. We are introduced to him working as an ambulance crew paramedic who cares for victims of traffic accidents. That is until, in a cruel twist of life, he suffers an accident himself that leaves him confined to a wheelchair. And therein he begins to lose what little smile he had. His girlfriend, actress Déborah François, then begins to distance herself and Casas’ character begins turning bitter, dark and increasingly more aggressive. Up to the point where he makes the worst possible choice: to hold onto his partner -the only thing he seems to have in this life– at any cost.
However, it’s not the wheelchair that transforms him into a vile and vindictive being; he and this one down long before the accident and his need to possess his partner and send her on permanent guilt trips was there before the unfortunate event. The director, however, does not delve into why he behaves that way. We don’t know anything about his past, why he’s so suspicious, for example, and that’s something that’s missing from the storyline. We are missing a piece in the puzzle that explains why, before the accident, Casas is so dark, even with love in his life, a good job and having his health.
The plot inevitably reminds us of the film ‘Sleep Tight’, and the sublime intervention of Luis Tosar. The actor plays a doorman, bitter like Casas, who cannot bear to see others happy and makes life impossible for his neighbor. In ‘Take My Eyes’, Tosar also shows us the darkest side of gender violence. Other cinematic examples of violence against women can be found in ‘Sleeping With The Enemy’, with Julia Roberts, ‘Mine Alone’, featuring Paz Vega, or ‘Enough’, with Jennifer López. Films in which women suffer the vengeful spirit of men who cannot bear to be left alone; films that are nothing more than a reflection of society and of how, for years, men have considered women to be “mine, and mine alone”.